Presidential Biographies

The Biographies I’ve Read of Each U.S. President

From three online “Best of” lists, and impulse pick-ups.
  1. Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow
  2. John Adams, David McCullough
  3. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Jon Meacham
  4. James Madison: A Biography, Ralph Louis Ketcham
  5. James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity, Harry Amon
  6. John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life, Paul C. Nagel
  7. The Life of Andrew Jackson (abridged), Robert V. Remini
  8. Martin Van Buren, The Romantic Age of American Politics, John Niven
  9. Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time, Freeman Cleaves
  10. John Tyler: Champion of the Old South, Oliver P. Chitwood
  11. Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America, Walter Bornemann
  12. Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest,  K. Jack Bauer
  13. Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President, Robert J. Rayback
  14. Franklin Pierce: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills, Roy F. Nichols
  15. President James Buchanan: A Biography,  Philip S. Klein
  16. A. Lincoln: A Biography, Ronald C. White, Jr.
  17. Andrew Johnson: A Biography, Hans L. Trefousse
  18. American Ulysses, Ronald C. White, Jr.
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes and His America, Harry Barnard
  20. Garfield: A Biography, Allan Peskin
  21. Gentleman Boss: The Life and Times of Chester Alan Arthur, Thomas C. Reeves
  22. Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage, To the Loss of the Presidency, Allan Nevins
  23. Benjamin Harrison, Charles Calhoun
  24. Grover Cleveland, A Study in Courage, To the End of a Career, Allan Nevins
  25. William McKinley and His America, H. Wayne Morgan
  26. Mornings on Horseback, David McCullough [Theodore Roosevelt]
  27. The Life and Times of William Howard Taft, Henry F. Pringle
  28. Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, John Milton Cooper, Jr.

The Ones Ahead

Biographies I plan to read later.
  • 29. The Harding Era: Warren G. Harding and His Administration, Robert H. Murray
  • 30. Calvin Coolidge: The Quiet President, Donald R. McCoy
  • 31. Herbert Hoover: A Public Life, David Burner
  • 32. No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearnes Goodwin [Franklin Roosevelt]
  • 33. Truman, David McCullough
  • 34. Eisenhower: Soldier and President, Stephen E. Ambrose
  • 35. An Unfinished Life, Robert Dallek [John F. Kennedy]
  • 36. Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, Robert Dallek
  • 37. Nixonland, Rick Perlstein
  • 38. Gerald Ford, Douglas Brinkley
  • 39. Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography, Peter Bourne
  • 40. President Reagan, Lou Cannon
  • 41. George H.W. Bush, Timothy Naftali
  • 42. First in His Class, David Maraniss [Bill Clinton]
  • 43. To be determined [George W. Bush]
  • 44. To be determined [Barack Obama]
  • 45. To be determined [Donald Trump]
  •  7. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, John Meacham
  • 18. Grant: A Biography, William S. McFeeley
  • 18. Personal Memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant
  • 33. The Autobiography of Harry S. Truman, Harry Truman and Robert H. Ferrell*
  • 34. Eisenhower in War and Peace, Jean Edwards
  • 41. 41: A Portrait of My Father, George W. Bush
  • 42. My Life, Bill Clinton

The Supplementals

Biographies I’ve read of other significant people in American history.
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson
  • Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
  • Santa Anna of Mexico, Will Fowler
  • Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X, Alex Haley


* Already read. Also the first presidential biography I ever read.

Special Thanks to Steve at for his hard work and inspiration.


Friend Suggestion

The Books I’ve Read Since 2013 That Were Suggested by a Friend or Family Member

Solicted from Facebook, and in person.
  1. Last Days of Summer, Steve Kluger
  2. Ramona, Helen Hunt Jackson
  3. Room with a View, E.M. Forster
  4. Killing Kennedy, Bill O’Reilly
  5. Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
  6. Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK,                                       Gerald Posner
  7. Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

Wild Card

The Books I’ve Chosen to Read Since 2013 That Were Not Part of My List Rotation

Impulse purchases, library pickups, or plucked from my own shelves, read out of order from my designated category list.
  1. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
  2. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
  3. The Boys in the Boat, Daniel J. Brown
  4. Bettyville, George Hodgman
  5. The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
  6. Old Tippecanoe, Freeman Cleaves
  7. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
  8. Santa Anna of Mexico, Will Fowler
  9. A. Lincoln, Ronald C. White, Jr.
  10. The Turner House, Angela Flournoy
  11. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  12. The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom, Slavomir Rawicz
  13. Washington’s Monument: And the Fascinating History of the Obelisk, John Steele Gordon

My Choice

The Books I’ve Read Since 2013 Just Because I Wanted To

Impulse purchases, library pickups, or plucked from my own shelves, read at the designated time on my list.
  1. The Green Mile, Stephen King
  2. Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust,                                       Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller
  3. The Small Rain, Madeleine L’Engle
  4. Zoo, James Patterson
  5. The Autobiography of Harry S. Truman, Harry S. Truman (Robert H. Ferrell, ed.)
  6. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai
  7. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson
  8. Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
  9. The Human Age, Diane Ackerman
  10. American Indians/American Presidents, National Museum of the American Indian

Library Suggestion

The Books I’ve Read Since 2013 That Were Suggested by Staff at My Local Library

Community-wide One Read selections, Facebook Friday suggestions, or in-library displays.
  1. The Trial of Fallen Angels, James Kimmel, Jr.
  2. The Ruins of Us, Keija Parssinen (One Read 2013)
  3. The Boys in the Boat, Daniel J. Brown (One Read 2014)
  4. The Great Bridge, David McCullough
  5. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel (One Read 2015)
  6. Bettyville, George Hodgman (One Read 2016)
  7. The Nazi and the Psychiatrist, Jack El-Hai
  8. The Long Walk, Richard Bachman
  9. The Turner House, Angela Flournoy (One Read 2017)
  10. The Elementals, Michael McDowell

Wife Suggestion

The Books I’ve Read Since 2013 That Were Suggested by My Wife

Some from her extensive collection, some she purchased for me, and some specifically recommended.
  1. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  2. The Green Mile, Stephen King
  3. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
  4. The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
  5. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
  6. I Am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment, Jerry Stanley
  7. Remembering Manzanar: Life in a Japanese Relocation Camp, Michael L. Cooper
  8. Hitler’s Last Days: The Death of the Nazi Regime and the World’s Most Notorious Dictator, Bill O’Reilly
  9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling


The Books I’ve Read So Far from My Book List, Including those Prior to Starting This Blog

From “52 Great Books to Read from the New York Public Library,” by Lynn Gordon, Chronicle Press, San Francisco, 1997.
  1. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  2. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Brothers Grimm
  3. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
  4. The Prophet, Kahlil Gilbran
  5. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  6. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  7. Waiting for Godot, Samuel Becket
  8. Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
  9. Animal Farm, George Orwell
  10. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  11. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  12. Ten Little Indians, Agatha Christie
  13. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  14. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  15. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez